Rogue One: The Art of Working for Yourself

A lot of people have the dream of firing their boss and start working for themselves.

There’s nothing wrong with the dream.

What’s wrong is their unrealistic expectation on this matter, especially at the start:

Sleep and wake up anytime you want.

No deadlines.

Freedom of time. 

Unfortunately, these ideals are far from the truth.

Instead, these are what’s going happen when you start working for yourself:

The constant guilt of waking up late and realizing that you have lost half of your workday.

Trying to squeeze multiple deadlines into a week, and/or feeling totally useless when you are not doing anything.

You have the FLEXIBILITY of time, not the FREEDOM of time. This means that working on weekends is totally normal.

Working for yourself is an art.

The art of self-discovery.

The art of self-discipline.

The art of finding structure when none exists. 

p.s. Art takes time.

Rogue One is a new weekly 1-min article series where I share my random thoughts and ideas.

Rogue One: "Do You Have a Plan B?"

“Do you have a Plan B if you fail in what you are doing right now?”

I often get asked this question by well-meaning friends, seniors, and relatives when I left my first full-time job to do what I am doing right now.

To be honest, I suck when it comes to forming any ‘Plan B (or C or D)’ for the important things and goals in my life.

In fact, I’d still tell you that I do not have any Plan B if you were to ask me today.  

My goal is to become a successful trader (I am not one, YET).

Whenever I hit a certain plateau in this business, I will tweak my approach, my mindset, my routine, and seek mentorship.

My passion is in sharing and words.

Whenever I feel stuck in my journey, I will adjust my perspective, ask better questions, and seek clarity.

I believe the mini little progress that I’ve been able to make today is not because I am anything better than anyone else.

It’s because I simply do not have any great ‘Plan B’ or ‘backup plan’ to fall back on if I fail.

If you put that chocolate bar in the fridge 'just in case' you get hungry at night during your diet, chances are the chocolate bar will not stay there for long.

If you pursue a goal with a well-defined backup plan in mind, you’ll almost always settle for the backup when shit happens.

In contrast, when there is nothing else to fall back on, the only way is to charge forward and make things happen.

Rogue One is a new weekly 1-min article series where I share my random thoughts and ideas.

Rogue One: Your (Boring) Journey to Mastery

If there is a sport that China held clear superiority over every other country in this world, it’s table tennis.

By winning 28 out of all 32 available gold medals in the history of the Olympics, one can only assume that there must be a secret recipe with the training & drills that China athletes undergo in their daily routine.

Last year, I traveled to train with fellow athletes at the China Table Tennis College (CTTC) in Shanghai.

To my surprise, there’s no secret recipe at all in their training.

What they did with their drills, to a big extent, are exactly the same as the ones that I see being done in the local clubs in Malaysia.

The fundamental skills like serving, looping, and footwork are still being practiced every session.

If there’s no difference in the drills, what make China’s athletes different and so exceptional?

The answer lies in the consistency and intensity of their training.

In China, athletes are required to train repetitively for 2 – 3 sessions every day. Along with the guidance from the coaches, drills are done with great attention to detail and intensity.

My journey in China has reinforced my view of mastery.

My stay at Shanghai really was really an eye-opener.

The journey to mastery is boring.

It is the work that we do consistently behind the scene when no one is watching.

It is the repetitive routine that we still try to refine every day even if we have done it 100 thousand times.

It is the fundamentals that everyone thinks is monotonous, yet we still work on intensively every single day.

The journey to mastery is boring.

That’s what makes ‘exceptional’ extremely valuable and rare in this world. 

Rogue One is a new weekly 1-min article series where I share my random thoughts and ideas.

Rogue One: We Can Still Win the 2nd Half of 2020

All the odds were against Liverpool on the 8th of May 2019.

The day was the 2nd leg of the 2019 Champions League semifinal with Liverpool hosting Barcelona.

The Reds were already down 0-3 against Barcelona in the first leg. To make things worse, the key men for the team – Salah and Firmino were not playing that night.

It seemed nearly mission impossible for the Reds to pull off a comeback.

But they still accomplished it – beating Barcelona on a 4-3 in aggregate to seal their place in the Champions League final (which, they eventually won).


Photo credit:

For many, what Liverpool has experienced during the 1st leg is a direct reflection of their 1st half of 2020 – a huge 0-3 punch to the face.

Heck, even the start of the 2nd half of 2020 is eerily similar:

Some may have lost their job while many would have experienced a huge cut in income.

Simply put, many of us are likely not in the best condition as we head into the 2nd half of 2020.

But does that matter?

Can we change the fact that we step into the 2nd half of 2020 being handicapped in one way or another?

Can we change the fact that we are forced to start 2nd half of the year unfavorably?

Did Liverpool whine, complain, and give up?

Liverpool players persisted and they won.

Now, I am not guaranteeing that all of us will stage a huge memorable comeback as Liverpool did.

But one thing I do know, for sure, is that complaining, looking for excuses and expecting that it is the responsibility of the government/parents/[insert person here] to help you is definitely not going to bring you anywhere near to a comeback.

You are 100% in charge of your life.

You can give yourself a fighting chance. 

You owe it to yourself to try.

Looking forward to seeing your comeback, wherever you are and whatever you are facing right now!

Rogue One is a new weekly 1-min article series where I share my random thoughts and ideas.

My 2020 Goals: This Year, I am Allowing Myself to Say ‘No’ Without Feeling Guilty Anymore.

Have you ever been in a situation where you said ‘Yes’ to something or someone when deep inside, your answer was a big ‘NO’?

Even worse, have you ever felt really guilty after saying ‘No’ to something or someone?

That is, without doubt, one of the worst conflicting feelings ever.

But here’s the thing:

If you say ‘Yes’ to everyone and everything, chances are you will have to say ‘No’ when it comes to things & people that matter the most to you.

My Goal in 2020

2020 is an important year for me.

This year, if I were to put a theme to it, is the Year of Trading Mastery.

For me, I have always enjoyed trading, not for the reason that you may assume.

I am passionate about trading because it pushes me to become a better version of myself. Trading taught me to face my fears and ego. Trading inspired me to embrace my curiosity and keep learning. More importantly, trading empowered me to take full responsibility for my own emotions and life.

Hence, in 2020, my goal is to pursue a professional trading career in proprietary trading firms (firms that trade their own and/or clients’ funds).

Personally, I see this as a natural transition in pursuit of bigger opportunity, knowledge, and mastery in my craft.

With that in mind, having a goal is not enough. According to Jay Shetty in his recent podcast ‘4-Tier Framework to Effective Goal-Setting’, it is even more crucial to focus on your growth than the goal.

Eyes on Your Growth over Your Goals

As important as my goal is to me, the growth towards my goal is even more crucial.

This section definitely deserves a whole article on its own (which it will), but here is a brief idea of my action plan to improve and grow towards my goal, which I am presently (and consistently) practicing:

    1. Technical Skills: Allocate time daily to practice my technical & pattern recognition skills. (eg. Reading Price Action & Order Flow) – Practice, Practice & Practice.


    2. Mindset & Psychology: Spend an average of 2 hours daily in the study and practice of psychology, mindset & peak performance (which I really enjoy doing).


    3. Morning Flow Routine: Meditation, Affirmation, Visualization & Gratitude Practice (45 minutes).


    4. Health: Exercise 30 minutes daily (normally at night).


    5. Review & Feedback: Daily End-of-Day journaling, weekend & monthly trade review.

(Side note: For those who have an unrealistic expectation about trading, now you know the effort and commitment it takes behind the scene – which still DOES NOT guarantee an outcome)

The point is, all my priorities and the things that I am doing (and will do) in 2020 WILL focus mainly on the pursuit of my goal…

…Which is Why I must Start Learning to Say ‘No’

To be frank, I really, really, hate to say ‘No’ to people.

In the past, I will feel bad for rejecting a random long-time-no-see friend’s request to meet. I will feel guilty for saying ‘No’ to people/businesses that want to collaborate with No Money Lah but may not be of good fit to the theme and value of my blog (which, by the way, is my personal space).

And worse, I will feel shitty in the sense that I feel obliged to come out with reasons to say ‘No’ everytime.

That said, that WILL NOT be the case in 2020.

In 2020, I WILL say ‘No’ to protect my priorities without feeling bad.

In 2020, I WILL say ‘No’ to people and opportunities that do not contribute to my goal and values.

In 2020, I WILL say ‘No’ without feeling guilty and the need to give reasoning to do so.

For all of you – friends, readers and potential collaborators that are reading this, I am hopeful that you will not take any of my ‘No(s)’ personally.

By every means, all of you are my great source of motivation and inspiration, and I am eternally grateful that.

Here are 6 Things that I Gonna Say ‘Yes’ to in 2020:

    1. Experience & opportunities that will contribute to my career goal and my growth as a trader.


    2. Meeting inspiring people of the same values and goals that will drive my growth.


    3. Anything family-related & my 2-lifetime friends (you know who you are :P).


    4. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (eg. Meeting Bill Gates or Warren Buffett).


    5. Collaborations that will add value to me and my community of readers in terms of personal growth and finances - considering my personal capacity.


    6. Collaborations on disruptive and/or exciting financial products & services - considering my personal capacity.

Other than that, any kind of casual socializing and gatherings would be secondary in my priorities.

I cannot emphasize more about the importance of having clarity about what you would say ‘Yes’ to in 2020. Again, we MUST set boundaries to opportunities we will say ‘Yes’ to at the start of the year or we will end up achieving NOTHING by the end of the year.

Verdict: Say ‘No’ For More in 2020

You got to learn to say ‘No’ without feeling guilty in order to have more in life.

It might sound weird at first, but it is true.

The irony is, saying ‘No’ reduces distractions and enables us to place more time and energy to work on the growth we need in order to achieve our goals.

Nothing is more frustrating in life than to end the year knowing that you are nowhere near the level of growth you desired – all because you are working on so many other unrelated things.

With that, I wish for your breakthroughs and success in 2020!

Side Note: The Role of No Money Lah in My Life for 2020

First of all, no worries!

No Money Lah will remain my personal space where I will continue to write about intriguing personal growth & money lessons in my adulthood journey.

In fact, in 2020, I have built a more systematic approach towards my writing routine to allow me to work on my content efficiently.

I will continue to write about my personal thoughts and money & investing. Perhaps, I will even write more about trading and psychology too!

If you would like to see more people benefiting from my content, consider supporting me through any of the channels by clicking the 'Support Me' button below! 

As always, thank you so much for your support for the past year and I truly, truly appreciate it. :)

Would we ever be ready in the pursuit of life?

It has almost been 2 years since I left my first job in a startup which paid me handsomely as a fresh-grad to explore my own path in trading and writing.

To be honest, it is one of the scariest decisions I’ve made in my life so far.

I knew nothing about trading at all when I first started.

I had no clue on how I could build a website at all, other than my neglectable experience with free website builders back in university times.

So, I did whatever I could – take a deep breath, leap, make tones of (noob) mistakes, and keep learning.

Fast Forward to Present Day

2019 has been a challenging year – and an amazing one as well.

This year, I had the opportunity to embark on many great adventures.

For one, after months of effort and painstaking mistakes, I finally made some significant breakthroughs in the skills & mindset in my trading journey (read: strategy with edge, disciplined routine & risk management, strong desire to succeed).

As someone with the goal to pursue a professional career in proprietary trading firms, this massively boosted my confidence to keep going.

Not only that, No Money Lah also opened me up to various great experiences.

First radio station interview? Done. First podcast interview? Done. First REIT investing knowledge-sharing workshop (and another 2 more after that)? Done.

Even better, I got to know and meet many like-minded readers and equally, if not even more enthusiastic folks of the personal finance & investing scene.

The best of all?

I learned a ton and enjoyed most moments in this adventure.

Gathering with other personal finance folks in 2019, courtesy of the StashAway team.

Outcast of the Norms

Whatever I am doing, I guess that made me an outcast of the societal norms with ever reliance on certainties.

I have a clear goal, but I can’t be 100% certain where exactly I will be by the end of 2020.

For sure, I can’t be 100% certain that I will have a fixed amount of income by the end of every month (Do you really think that No money lah is just my website’s name?).

When it comes to trading, it is even more obvious that I can’t be 100% certain of the outcome of my trade results every month.

In short, the only thing that is certain in this journey is risks and uncertainties.

REIT Investing Workshop – September 2019 Intake Group Photo

Lessons Learned in 2019

With that in mind, I have to take aggressive actions and mindsets to keep me going on this journey.

It is easy for one to slack off when you have no one to be accountable to. Hence, to progress in my journey, I have to:

  1. Follow a very disciplined routine to optimize my productivity (more contents about routine in 2020).
  2. Create a systematic workflow around my trading and content creation work.
  3. Be mindful of my personal expenses & financial decisions.
  4. Develop a very strong purpose and desire to succeed to keep myself motivated, and whenever needed, pull myself out of challenging times.

Most importantly, I have to embrace the fact that uncertainties are the only certainty in my journey, and make this to my advantage.

The Future Belong in Those Who Believe in the Beauty of Their Dreams.

What are your goals in life?

To be more specific, what is the ideal life that you visualize yourself in whenever you close your eyes?

For me, I want to give my parents a retirement life where they do not have to worry about money at all. I also want to have flexibility in time where I can explore the world of experiences.

Even more so, I want to be in peace and happy in my very own way of living.

Are we ever truly ready in this pursuit of ‘life’?

Why do I ask and share with you this, you might guess?

The reason is simple.

This is because I’ve seen and talked to people that want to wait for the ‘moment’ when they are ready to take the necessary actions to pursue their goals or ideal life.

But would we ever be ready for life?

If there is one key takeaway that I got in my nearly-2 years’ journey pursuing my goals, I am almost certain that most people are never truly ready for the adventure.

The fact is, you will always find hundreds, if not thousands of excuses on why you are not ready to start.

For me, it was the fear of not being enough. Not enough of a writer, not enough in knowledge, not enough in relevant experiences.


Truth is, you only need one of these reasons to make you feel overwhelmed to start. But since we are creatures with imagination, we flood ourselves with even more reasons for why we will not succeed.

You Don’t Have to Know Everything, and You Only Need One Reason to Start

Give this a thought:

Our parents never really asked if we are ready for school – we just adapt and learn along the way.

Our university never really asked if we are ready for that damn tough paper – we (most of us) just grit our teeth and went through it anyway.

Isn’t it obvious that for the most part of our lives, we have never really been fully prepared for anything at all?

Yet, we still make it through and conquered life like a pro – until now.

Now’s the time to decide if you really want to be ‘truly ready’ or ‘fully prepared’ to pursue that goal or ideal life in this new decade.

You will find strong mental resistance and excuses as it would be deeply uncomfortable.

But you only need one, and only one strong ‘WHY’ to go take the leap.

I wish you the very, very best – and I would love to hear your journey someday. 😊

2019 has been a great year, and it would not be possible without my supportive parents, 2 of my lifelong friends (Victor & Eddie), and of course – you.

Thank you for being such a great supporter and motivation to me – be it if you are a reader and/or attendee of my REIT Investing Workshop in 2019.

This journey is much more meaningful and fulfilling with all of you, and please accept my gratitude from the bottom of my heart.

Wishing you a great year, and the decade ahead!

Yi Xuan